Mark Barr became a PCSO on June 12, 2006 – a little more than eight years later, he was honoured to become a PC.
It means that PC Barr, who is based at Grantham, is well-placed to discuss the challenges of the job, and how it has changed during his service.
“It’s a full-on day (when on duty) and demands have increased since I started the job,” he says. “I am reliant on the work that PCSOs do – it’s tougher than when I was doing it, and I thought I did a lot.”
On a typical working day in the middle of November, PC 125 Barr is at the office ahead of his 8am to 6pm shift.
Engaging in conversations with PCSOs and a Sergeant, PC Barr then checks through emails to see what he needs to respond to.
Setting off for the Barrowbygate area of Grantham, he carries out speed checks.
“There are panel meetings every three months with the local community, and one of the issues they mentioned was speeding,” he says.
“Most of the time they are done in the morning rush hour and when children are being picked up from school.”
He then moves on to an area west of the town, noting that being visible is an important part of the job.
“We are showing our presence to the public,” he notes. “They often feel neglected, so we can show we are here and we are about.
“People are happy to see PCSO and PCs. When they do see us they say ‘that’s a sight for sore eyes’ and you can understand why they are saying that.
“Nine times out of 10 they understand why we can’t be out more often.”
Driving through a sprawling estate populated by scores of new houses, he outlines one of the challenges faced by the Force.
“There are a lot of new houses that have been built and are being built,” he says.
“It’s a major challenge because our numbers are dwindling but the population and houses are increasing.”
A trip to Claypole provides some useful information about a burglary from a member of the public, before another high-visibility patrol in an area of Grantham that has been subject to anti-social behaviour issues.
“Me and my colleagues are here seven days a week. We are doing all we can to handle the issues,” he adds.
Upon his return to Grantham Police Station at 5pm, without having stopped at any point for a break or anything to eat, he has at least another hour’s work catching up with the duties of his PCSOs and checking emails.
Before the final part of his working day is complete, PC Barr reflects on the changes and challenges that have occurred since he took up his role.
“We have to work a bit smarter because there are fewer officers,” says PC Barr, who is 50. “You have to accept that we cannot do all that we used to be able to do. But most of the time the public accept that we are doing everything we can.”
A Day In The Life Of A Grantham Community Beat Manager
21 Dec 18 1:25 PM